PA 10-61—sSB 391

Human Services Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING CHILD CARE SUBSIDIES UNDER THE CARE 4 KIDS PROGRAM

SUMMARY: This act makes two changes in the administration of the Care4Kids program, which provides child care subsidies to low-income working families. First, it requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) commissioner to (1) redetermine program eligibility every eight months instead of every six months and (2) report whether this extension causes more benefit overpayments. In practice, DSS contracts with the United Way of Connecticut to administer the program, including eligibility determinations.

Second, the act requires DSS to post notices on its website and send written notices to child care providers and recipients whenever it intends to make program changes, including those related to eligibility and access.

The act also makes technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

REDETERMINATIONS

Frequency

Under the act, beginning no later than January 1, 2011, any applicant determined to be eligible for Care4Kids benefits remains eligible for at least eight months from the date eligibility is determined, provided the applicant's circumstances do not change in a way that would render him or her ineligible. The act explicitly prohibits the commissioner from making an eligibility redetermination more than once every eight months.

Beginning October 15, 2011, the act allows the commissioner to redetermine eligibility every six months if, after January 1, 2011, the department's overpayment of program subsidies (presumably those between January 1, 2011 and October 15, 2011) is greater than for the one-year period beginning January 1, 2010 because of the less frequent redeterminations.

Current program regulations specify that eligibility is approved for up to a maximum of six months from the month of application, and require the program administrator (United Way of Connecticut) to schedule redeterminations within six months.

The regulations also require parents to report changes in household circumstances within 10 days of the change (some of which could render the family ineligible for continued assistance).

Report

The act requires the DSS commissioner to report by October 15, 2011 to the Human Services and Appropriations committees on the new, longer program eligibility period. The report must include an analysis of benefit overpayments (child care subsidy provided to an ineligible person) and administrative costs DSS incurs as a result of the less frequent redeterminations.

NOTICES

The act requires DSS to post notices on its website and provide written notice to child care providers and subsidy recipients whenever it proposes to (1) close the subsidy program to new applications or (2) change eligibility requirements or program benefits. It must provide the notice at least 30 days before the proposed action is effective. DSS does not have to provide notice when it expands program eligibility.

OLR Tracking: RC: SC: VR: ts